Monday, May 1, 2017

GAPYEONG DAY TOUR (NAMI ISLAND, PETITE FRANCE, GARDEN OF MORNING CALM)


On our second day in Korea, we took the train to Gapyeong. It was my first time to visit this area as most of the sites we covered during my first trip to Korea was mainly only around Seoul. I was really excited to visit Nami Island, Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm.


We did this trip on our own and we got to save a lot compared to getting a day tour. We even had more time to explore the area without worrying about the time. If you are planning to do the same, I suggest you leave Seoul earlier than we did. We left at around 9am and we had to adjust our schedule in each of the places we went to so we could cover everything before the last bus leaves. If you can, take the earliest train first thing in the morning. To get to gapyeong from Seoul, the cheapest way is by taking the subway. If you are in a rush, you can add a few extra won and take the ITX train straight to Gapyeong. When you get to the metro station, take the train to YONGSAN STATION, and from there, you can pay 4800 won for a ticket straight to Gapyeong. The ITX train will take you to Gapyeong in 1 hour. If you are on a budget and have more time to spare (it takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes) you can take the subway straight to Gapyeong for almost half the price of an ITX train ticket.


When you get to the Gapyeong train station, go straight outside and purchase yourself a Gapyeong Bus Day Tour. It saves you a lot of money and it works like a hop-on, hop-off bus wherein you could choose where you want to go around Gapyeong and get on the bus again after you are done. You have to take note of the schedule though so you won't get left behind and you can plan your time in each of the places accordingly. For our itinerary, we only did NAMI ISLAND - PETITE FRANCE - GARDEN OF MORNING CALM. There were so many other amazing places to enjoy around Gapyeong and I wish I could have stayed longer but due to time constraints, we only visited the most popular sites.

1) NAMI ISLAND (3 hours)

Ahh! I've always heard of Nami Island from my friends who have been avid Kdrama fans. I wasn't really much of a Korean drama fan before. I was just recently baptized into the Korean Drama fan club after indulging on the popular Korean drama series, Goblin. But sadly, they didn't shoot anything around Nami Island. Still, Nami Island was a sight to behold for me. I loved all the surrounding trees and of course, the cherry blossoms by the river.





My friend suggested we try out the kimchi tuna ricebox (Dosirak) for lunch and happy to say, it did not disappoint. I am a big kimchi eater so this was the perfect lunch choice for me. They are served really hot and you need gloves to shake it and then of course, open and eat it. I recently found out that this was considered a traditional Korean dish because back in the day, mine workers were poor and wore gloves all day. When they prepared their food, they also used the gloves because they wanted it really hot!






We rented bikes and went around Nami Island using them. We stopped in a few spots to take photos. Did I mention I almost thought I would end up giving up my 10,000 won deposit because I lost the deposit slip? Good thing, I was able to convince the guy at the ticket counter to give it back to me (charm goes a long way guys, use it well!). So if you ever rent yourself a bike at Nami Island, watch out for the deposit slip so you can get your deposit money back. It costs 3000 won to rent a bike for 30 minutes.




2) PETITE FRANCE (1 hour)

If there is one thing I can honestly say about Petite France, that would be that it is nothing like France. I have been to the vibrant city of France before, but honestly speaking, I didn't really feel that here. Sure, you will be able to take great photos, but I never fully enjoyed my time here. You have to spend 8000 won to get inside and then go around the small area to take some photos. 



This is probably the best view you can get to get a feel of France but that's about it. However, if you are a big fan of the Little Prince, you can find a lot of pictures, statues and walls with his face on it. 




Their version of the Eiffel Tower. 






Still, it was nice to visit this place. But this is a place I would not go back to. I would if they added an amusement park inside, that would be amazing! 

3) GARDEN OF MORNING CALM (1 hour)

We arrived at the Garden of Morning Calm at around 6pm. The sun was starting to set and we were left with only an hour before the last bus leaves for the train station. If you love gardens and flowers and nature, this is the perfect place for you! This was a really big garden and because we only had an hour, we weren't able to explore the entire garden! We only visited half of what was on the map. Still, we enjoyed every bit of our stay at the Garden of Morning Calm. Sadly, we weren't able to catch the lights festival. During the winter, the whole garden is filled with lights and it is usually a big attraction for both the tourists and the locals. 






TULIPS EVERYWHERE!!!!! Yes, you guessed it, my favorite flowers are tulips!








Because the sun was already out, I had a nice good view of the mountain behind the garden. The colors were perfect! I felt like I was looking at a phone wallpaper. 


And there you have it! A Gapyeong city tour is not to be missed when you travel to Korea. If you are on a budget and want more of your own free time, take the subway or ITX train like us. However, if you don't feel like going through the hassle of riding the subway or changing train stations or if you are afraid of getting left behind by the last bus and train, take a city tour. The last bus from the Garden of Morning Calm left at 7:30 pm. And we arrived just in time for the next train to Seoul at 8:05 pm.


We wrapped up our day with some spicy Korean chicken for dinner in Hongdae! 

I wore a mix of blue and white because I knew I would be surrounded by contrasting colors of the scenery that we will visit. 

Top - UNIQLO
Culottes - ZARA
Turban - FOREVER 21

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